The UK House of Commons, Dalrymple reports,
wants to strip [the tycoon] Sir Philip Green of his knighthood because it alleges that he is a spiv.
perfectly prepared to believe that he is a spiv, though I cannot claim to have followed his career closely. At the very least he seems to be a man given to vulgar show.
But Dalrymple asks:
How many members of the British parliament and government are spivs, or hope to become spivs at the end of their political careers? Two of our last three prime ministers were clearly of spiv calibre, one of them indeed to spivs what the capo dei capi is to the Mafia. If Parliament deprived them of their pensions, then it might have done something useful.
Once you grasp the concept of spivvery,
much about modern Britain becomes explicable. You have only to read the Financial Times’ Saturday supplement, How To Spend It, to understand how much of our economy is in essence a spiv economy. The supplement is aimed not at people with more money than sense, but at a group of people far, far worse: people with more money than taste, for whom Sir Philip is a leader of fashion.
We have, Dalrymple points out,
raised up spivs to the summit of our economy and society.
Moreoever, Britain has a tax system
that turns accountancy into the queen of the sciences.